Monday, March 31, 2008

Superman Copyright Split

What does this mean for the future of Man of Steal, Smallville, JLA?
Well not sure yet but it seems that the WB is still a go on most of these projects, and I guess for now things are going to continue but now with the WB having to split profit with the families I think we might see less, and less of Superman in the future at least from the WB's...

Be interesting to have another company take charge, and create a Superman movie of their own!

Can't be any worse then the crapfest the WB has put out... Singerman Returns sucked balls afterall!

Written by Silas Lesnick
Monday, 31 March 2008
Last week, an historical ruling was made that awarded the heir of Superman's co-creator Jerry Siegel half of the original copyright. So what does that mean for DC Comics and Time Warner?

The issue goes back to long-standing discussion as to whether or not comic book
writers and artists are entitled to ownership of their creations or whether, as
the case has generally been for decades, the company itself owns what is
essentially "work for hire". Regardless of a moral standpoint, in most cases the
work for hire issue is pretty clear cut.

In this case, however, there's the little-known fact that Superman actually existed before his appearance in Action Comics number one.  Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster originally created Superman as high-school students in Cleveland. Appearing originally as a bald-headed villain, Superman's evolution into what he is today didn't happen overnight -- part of what makes this case so confusing. By awarding the copyright to Superman
as depicted in his first appearance, there's a whole can of worms as to who is
entitled to what.

A lot of the Superman mythos didn't arrive with the first appearance. Kryptonite, The Daily Planet, Jimmy Olsen and a lot more came much later with the Superman radio show and through non-Siegel and Shuster comic involvement. How that plays out remains to be seen.The legal side is endlessly complicated (otherwise, there'd be no need for such a long courtroom battle) but DC comics' response to a very similar case over the rights to Superboy ended in more or less a suspension of the character after their Infinite Crisis crossover.

Since the end result is inevitably going to be a large settlement with Siegel's widow, it's quite possible that development on Justice League and Man of Steel might be hindered until rights issues pan out and Time Warner is fully aware of exactly how much they're going owe -- an amount to be determined by a jury beginning in May.Throwing in more confusion, the estate of Joe Shuster will mostly likely jump into the fray and -- in the year 2013 -- be able to terminate their own share of Superman. If that passed without settlement, DC would theoretically lose the Superman rights altogether.

Copyright laws are constantly being extended but, bound by current regulations, the Superman copyright will expire altogether in 2033 meaning that if we can just wait 25
years, we'll all be able to publish our very own Superman comics. Until then,
let's hope for an amicable settlement that all parties are happy with.

Comic Book resources has been following the story very closely and has two great articles on the issue,
one dealing with the history of the case and another from a
copyright lawyer's perspective.

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